Majority of Wi-Fi users unaware public hotspot providers obliged to retain usage data

20 Aug 2012

Some 72pc of Wi-Fi users are unaware that public Wi-Fi hotspots are obliged by law to retain information about who uses their service, new research from Bitbuzz claims.

According to a spokesperson in Ireland the law comes under The Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011, there are similar laws throughout Europe, including The Digital Economy Act 2010 in the UK.

“While we are not surprised at the volume of Wi-Fi use, we were very surprised to discover that the majority of respondents were unaware of Wi-Fi law,” Bitbuzz managing director Shane Deasy explained.

“It is important that consumers realise that Wi-Fi hotspots have to retain their information by law and to only use Wi-Fi that is operated by safe, reliable registered companies,” he added.

Impact of Wi-Fi in coffee shops

The survey into our coffee shop habits by Bitbuzz, Ireland’s leading Wi-Fi provider, has found that 88pc of respondents would be encouraged to sit down on their own in a coffee shop if there was fast, efficient Wi-Fi available. 73pc of respondents said that they used Wi-Fi regularly on their Android or iPhones; however, 72pc of respondents were unaware that public Wi-Fi hotspots are obliged by law to retain information about who uses their service.

Some 77pc of respondents visited coffee shops at least once a week.

Fifty seven percent of respondents said that they would prefer to use Wi-Fi in a coffee shop that asked you to set up a free account, was always working and has professional phone support.

The growth in Wi-Fi has influenced social media usage when in coffee shops, 74pc of respondents had used Facebook, 48pc had checked-in on Facebook and 48pc had used twitter. The ready availability of Wi-Fi has also influenced our manners – 78pc of respondents had checked their email when with a friend in a coffee shop.

Wi-Fi image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years